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David Hammons

If it’s good kitsch, it will be good art!

—David Hammons

INDULGE ME in an anecdote from the roaring ’80s. My set piece places a certain art consultant (of storied chutzpah and a measure of clout) at the feet of a certain SoHo gallerist (of storied sangfroid and even greater clout), bewailing the cruelty of her colleague who has just stiffed her on her accustomed commission. “You can’t do this to me,” the consultant wails, her prized client having momentarily stepped out of earshot. “That woman keeps me in furs!”

For those of you whose cultural memories don’t reach back this far, the high-’80s art consultant tended to be a lady with modest art expertise (and, unfailingly, a mink coat) who made a living by squiring other ladies with no art expertise (but lots of mink coats) on managed art-shopping tours of SoHo, then the epicenter of the contemporary gallery world. It was not at all uncommon

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